This page is inspired by something on the web years ago, where someone kept
his own day by day log of major or interesting news events. The neat thing
was that he had a long memory, so you'd get more follow-up, or juxtaposition,
than one usually does. We'll see how far (or how regualr) I get.
of democracies. Really neat related pages, too.
8 December 2005
Washington Post article on the
CIA's overseas gulag, secret prison camps where torture illegal in the US and
the host countries can take place, complete with what are at best negligent
27 November 2005
the partial-birth-abortion ban limiting the options of mothers whose fetus is
already dead, keeping them from the safest option.
calls get restaurant managers to strip search and abuse employees.
21 August 2005
in Orange Country.
6 July 2005
brainwashing. "I would rather you commit suicide than have you
leave Love In Action
wanting to return to the gay lifestyle. In a physical death you could
still have a spiritual resurrection; whereas, returning to homosexuality
you are yielding yourself to a spiritual death from which there is no
recovery." -The Final Indoctrination from John Smid, Director, Love In
Action (LIA), San Rafael's "ex-gay" clan.
20 June 2005
Chinese farmers were encouraged by China to use a human anti-flu drug on
chickens, and now it won't work against bird flu.
Turkish honor killings in Germany. And last night, I read a Nation essay
on Muslims in the Netherlands, quoting someone as saying that current Islamic
culture is fairly
receptive to democracy; the real divide between it and the West, and between
it and Europe in particular, is sex. Europe takes equal rights for women and
gays almost for granted now (more so than the US).
12 May 2005
Sen. George Voinovich, who stunned the
Foreign Relations Committee in April when he backed Democratic demands for
more time to examine Bolton's record, said he viewed Bolton as "the poster
child of what someone in the diplomatic corps should not be." This regarding
Bolton's nomination to be US ambassador to the UN.
11 May 2005
The Army isn't meeting
goals and some recruiters are using unethical tactics, such as threatening
candidates with arrest for not showing up, and faking physical test scores.
One recruiters says he was demoted for not meeting his quota, which to me says
the Army isn't completely innocent -- it may not condone the tactics, even
suspending recruiting for a day to re-instruct people -- but it puts pressure
on them such that they feel they have no choice.
9 May 2005
A friend found this page of worldwide
prison rates and populations. USA: We're number one!
The New York Times had a frontpage article on large chlorine processing
plants right next to NYC still being barely guarded, while money gets spent in
low-risk areas such as Kentucky. New Jersey seems to be doing a decent job at
the state level, but Homeland Security seems like a farce.
Bush says no country shall harbor terrorists. Except maybe for us.
7 May 2005
The Independent wrties on Kansas's
new war on evolution, with mention of ther activities in the Axis of
Ignorance, such as "God Hates Fags" signs on the streets and Christian hymns
in the capitol.
Bush says Soviet control of the Eastern bloc was one of the great crimes
history. Baltic states call for an apology from Russia for Soviet crimes.
Putin refuses, says they're trying to cover up their Nazi past, that the Red
Army liberated 11 countries, and that the demise of the USSR was the greatest
geopolitical catastrophe of the century.
Thomas Reese, the editor of influential magazine America is
apparently forced to resign by the modern Inquisition, for fostering too much
debate in the church over things like priestly celibacy, women priests, and
the use of condoms to slow AIDS.
300 people killed in Iraq by insurgents this week.
Peter Rabinovitch and colleagues report that mice engineered to produce
more of the antioxidant catalase in their mitochondria live 20% longer.
A big reactionary Christian
rally in Kentucky against the filibuster, with James Dobson calling the
Supreme Court "unelected and unaccountable" and "out of control." Journalists
were warned not to approach churchgoers under threat of expulsion; handpicked
members were provided later for interviews.
East Waynesville Baptist Church in North Carolina expelled nine members
for not supporting their pastor's Republican views.
6 May 2005
Result of yesterday's elections in Britain:
Labour 35.6%, Tory 32.6%, LibDeb 22.3%, Others 9.5% -- popular vote
projected Seats: 356, 197, 62, 30
Seat %: 55%, 30.6%, 9.6%, 4.6%
That 35.6% is the lowest vote for a winning party in UK history. But look!
They still got a majority! While over a fifth of the country voted for the
Liberal Democrats, but they didn't even get a tenth of the seats. If that
doesn't show the bankruptcy of first-past-the-post elections, what does? The
LibDems, who were the only major anti-war party gained 11 more seats and 4%
more of the vote.
Air Force Academy is reportedly in the grip of evangelical Christians,
with prayers at mandatory cadet meetings, born-again instructors
encouraging their classes to be born again, and chapel-declining cadets called
a "Heathen Flight" and marched back to their dorms during basic training.
24 Apr 2005
Blumenthal on the unprecedented alliance between Bush and the Papacy.
23 Apr 2005
Syria pulls out of Lebanon!
20 Apr 2005
Tom DeLay calls the Supreme Court out of control for not doing what he
wanted in the Terri Schiavo case. I shudder at the thought that he thinks
Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas are "out of control". Some people might
think that maybe if every one of a couple dozen judges, some of them quite
religious and "conservative", and more informed about the case, disagree with
you, then you might be wrong about the case. But no such humility for DeLay!
Instead he tells us that the separation of church and state isn't in the
Constitution, despite the First Amendment and ban on religious tests for
31 Mar 2005
A presidential commission says the intelligence on Iraq's WMDs was "dead
wrong". Nice to have it official. It recommends listening to dissent -- we
need to be told this? Bush officials acknowledge that Bush and Rice didn't
read footnotes to a 90 page document, while Kerry aides say Kerry didn't even
read the document before voting to give Bush the authority to go to war.
People, 90 pages is not that much to read before GOING TO WAR.
7 Dec 2004
US Special Forces threatened government
witnesses of US abuse of prisoners in Iraq.
China bans a computer game for "harming
Chinese sovereignty" by listing Hong Kong and Taiwan, among others, as
4 Dec 2004
researchers report that injections of polyethylene glycol within three
days of injury allowed many paraplegic dogs to recover from their spinal cord
24 Nov 2004
suggests Latin American countries rethink the separation of military and
police functions which we've been pushing for decades on human rights grounds.
Terrorism and national security to trump human rights.
22 Nov 2004
Northern indigenes lack words for the
funny animals they're seeing these days, like robins and salmon and elk. But
it's not like global warming is happening, is it?
21 Nov 2004
The Chicago Tribune reports that the middle class is fleeing Iraq.
18 Nov 2004
Congress raises debt limit to $8.18
trillion; it's gone up $2.4 trillion since Bush took power. Republicans
blamed Democratic spending for the increase, despite having controlled
Congress and the White House for the last 4 years. Seems a classic case of
crying "victim!" while being in charge.
17 Nov 2004
House GOP removes
a rule requiring their leader to step aside if indicted on felony charges.
This due to fears that Tom DeLay, current majority leader, might be indicted,
since 3 of his associates have been indicted for illegal campaign
contributions to a PAC associated with DeLay. Supporters say they're just
making sure a Democratic prosecutor can't knock out their leadership. GOP
opponents Zach Wamp and Christopher Shays says it sends the wrong signals, and
that their colleagues have forgotten they came to power a decade ago promising
to eliminate favoritism for lawmakers. The Democrats currently require
committe chairs but not top leaders to step aside; Pelosi says the rule will
be expanded to include leaders. Wamp requested a secret ballot, but a voice
vote was used instead.
16 Nov 2004
US proposes measures to protect sharks,
having already taken steps itself to stop shark finning in its waters; a
ban for the Pacific went into effect in 2002. Even under Bush we can do
things like this.
12 Nov 2004
say Sorry: apologizing, owning up to mistakes (and offering settlements up
front) might reduce malpractice suits and costs. Funny, that.
10 Nov 2004
Vitamin E supplements may
not be good for you; a large study found people taking them dying a bit
sooner, the opposite of the desired effect. This isn't the first study I've
heard of with this result.
8 Nov 2004
The campus paper reports that Indiana is
considering putting restrictions on cold medicines with pseudoephedrine
because it's an ingredient in meth. Right now you can grab it off the shelf
and go buy it, but the recommendation is to have to sign for it and show ID at
a pharmacist's window, meaning longer lines for us all. And possibly limits
on how much you can buy, so no stocking up if it's on sale. All to stop some
people from playing with their brains.
7 Nov 2004
"If we want to have a hopeful and decent society, we ought to aim for the
ideal, and the ideal is that marriage ought to be, and should be, a union of a
man and a woman," Bush political aide Karl Rove told 'Fox News Sunday.'
The school board of Grantsburg, northwest Wisconsin (1000 students), has
revised its curriculum to allow Creationism to be taught. The usual protests
from college faculty (both biology and religious studies) and deans followed.
This follows the Dover School Board in Pennsylvania voting to require teaching
"Intelligent Design". (AP)
Google seems inclined to buck the usual trend and not split its stock.
Partly because they admire Warren Buffet, partly (this is related) because
they want to discourage short-term speculation on their stock, vs. long-term
holding. And possibly, I speculate, their "don't be evil" philosophy recoils
at why most corporations like stock splits: the lower price per share gives
the stock price a short boost because it seems cheaper, even though no real
value was created. (Source: article by AP writer MICHAEL LIEDTKE)
Texas approves sex-ed
textbooks talking about abstinence to the near exclusion of birth control.
As the second largest market, Texas may influence textbooks elsewhere. The
CDC says Texas has been in the top five states for teenage pregnancies.
6 Nov 2004
Thought inspired by a blog: Dick Cheney's daughter can't marry a woman
she loves because she's gay. Obvious enough, but maybe there's mileage in
making these things concrete. George Bush wants to prevent his VP's
daughter's marriage, her right to adopt like normal people, to visit her
partner in hospitals like normal people.
A few reasons for optimism, after the election disaster. The stem cell
research measure in California passed, and 'moderate' (including Orrin Hatch)
Republicans in Congress say they will try to push Bush to loosen his
restrictions (limiting funding to about 22 lines, apparently none of which are
medically usable because they all have genes fostering rejection.) Medical
marijuana passed in Montana, by the biggest percentage ever. Marijuana
legalization did not pass in Alaska, but it did get 43% of the vote, which
apparently was a pleasant surprise to its backers. 11 states banned gay
marriage, and 8 of them civil unions as well, but more young people support
gay rights than older ones, so the long-term outlook may be favorable. "We
will bury them."
Outside the world of politics, Australian scientists say they've developed a
tuberculosis vaccine they think is more effective and longer-lasting than the
current one. Los Angeles had its cleanest air on record this year, though it
still sucks on ozone.
Some election links: Purple
USA, Red and blue states by IQ (but also see these
questions, and by education. Red and blue
counties (big). Purple
counties, textured to show population (bigger). A distribution of margin of
victory -- Bush is spread all over, Kerry's victories are huge but
localized. And another
3D map. And the top purple
cartograms. And again.
24 August 2003
UAVs not meant for delivery of biological or chemical weapons, contrary to
Bush's claims before the war, US weapons experts say. [URL dead]
6 August 2003
Kid arrested for note in baggage.
28 July 2003
driven out of Washington. [URL dead]
27 July 2003
Husseins shocked by their own collapse. One wonders how much they were
lied to by their own underlings, totalitarian governments often failing this
way. Perhaps our "intelligence" on their WMDs was based on their own
falsified reports to their own leaders. Not that our leaders have even
presented that much evidence.
-- Americans detainable without charge or counsel.
22 July 2003
A House subcommittee
increases funding for highways and cuts all money for bike paths and
stuff. They even gave more money than Bush asked for for highways. We can
hope this gets fixed in the legislative sausage machine.
14 July 2003
Pentagon's lack of planning for post-war Iraq.
15 June 2003
Just saw a 60 Minutes program on Diego Garcia, a British "owned" island
in the Indian Ocean which the US has been using as an air base for some time.
Air base for attacks on Baghdad and such. The key thing is that the island
had over a thousand inhabitants, which the British forcibly moved to Mauritius
without compensation or most of their possessions so that we could have the
island to ourselves; the British got weapons savings of $14 million dollars.
The people didn't have many prospects either, since they'd been island fishers
and were dumped into urban slums. Recently President Bush was asked to at
least let them go back to visit their old gravesites; our spiritual and
compassionate president denied the request.
31 May 2003
What did you do
during the African Holocaust?
accused by MPs of lying about WMDs in Iraq. "We were told Saddam had
weapons ready for use within 45 minutes. It's now 45 days since the war has
finished and we have still not found anything."
6 May 2003
Life Under the
27 March 2003
plan for the Middle East. We'll topple tyrannies we've supported for
years and expect the people to gratefully set up friendly democracies. Or
crush them if they don't. Because empires have worked so well the last few
Native US citizen, held on US soil, for 10 months, without access to
lawyer. Story. It's
the alleged dirty bomber, Jose Padilla. He got ruled an "enemy combatant" and
was transferred to military custody for "interrogation" last June. Merits of
the case? Who knows? The public doesn't need to...
24 March 2003
Texas sodomy law goes before SCOTUS this week, and is being heavily
defended by Texas governor and legislators. They did manage to have an openly
gay (Democratic) Rep. Georgia has repealed its law, which had been upheld by
SCOTUS in 1986.
warnings to websites in Israel.
23 March 2003
awe -- or first use of nukes?
22 March 2003
report for 2002. Doesn't talk directly about the war, but its criticism of
the US is I think a good summary -- rule of law, need for a positive vision,
etc. Also criticises the EU and notes US leadership on human rights.
from Representative Waxman to George Bush, accusing him of having knowingly
used faked evidence (regarding Iraq trying to get uranium from Niger) to get
support for war. Waxman voted for using force against Iraq. [Dead URL]
Washington Post article
about that faked evidence..
Human Rights Watch summary of abuses in
Israel. Note that HRW is explicit about condemning suicide
bombings as well.
And the HRW report on the USA.
New York Times reports growing concern with Bush's silence on the costs
of the war, as well as people, even Republicans, connecting this with secrecy
regarding Cheney's energy task force and post 9/11 detainees.
20 March 2003
Senate votes to reduce the tax cut by $100 billion, to keep some money to
pay for the war.
10 March 2003
Bush et al. hoping for a majority vote on the Security Council, to gain
moral force in the face of vetoes by France, Russia, and China. He's not
getting them as yet. I find a certain irony here, given that Bush didn't get
a majority or even plurality of the popular vote in his own election.
The US today is accusing Iran of pursuing nuclear weapons. The US is
ignoring North Korea basically saying it has nuclear weapons, as well as
testing missiles. Ari Fleischer says "This is one of the reasons the
president ... referred to Iraq, Iran and North Korea as the axis of evil,
because of their willing desire to flaunt international accords in pursuit of
nuclear weapons." It's commonly assumed Israel has nuclear weapons, also in
defiance of international accords. Hmm.
Thursday's NEJM will have an article about a treatment for peanut
9 March 2003
Reuters has an article on the "dollar diplomacy" of the US, generally
trade deals with nations on the Security Council, such as Russia trying to get
out of the Jackson-Vanik Cold War trade restrictions. Looks like blatant
vote-buying to me.
8 March 2003
National Cancer Institute concludes neither miscarriages nor induced
abortions increase breast cancer risk, contrary to some worries based in the
early 1990s. Earlier studies were flawed, and the ones since 1995 found
nothing, especially a big Danish cross-reference study.
Iranian women rally for equal rights. Note they already get to vote and
hold public office, and while the clerics wield a lot of power, the voting
isn't entirely meaningless either. Unlike the situation in our ally Saudia
US-UK jets attacked mobile radar in western Iraq. Nothing new, just a
little reminder that we never really stopped being at war with Iraq. All
without a Congressional declaraiont of war!
7 March 2003
Canadians for no good reason. [Dead URL] Also this.
5 March 2003
John Nichols of the Nation reports some members of Congress are suing to
bar Bush from ordering an attack without a Congressional declaration of war.
Sounds great to me. Even if you do think the war is justified -- especially
then, in fact -- you should be able to support Congress declaring war on Iraq
before we attack it. Resolutions are one thing, but the Constitution says
Congress has the power to declare war, so Congress should.
4 March 2003
North Korea is building nuclear weapons and buzzed our recon plane
yesterday, and sells missiles to Yemen and other places, but Bush says we can
still resolve our differences diplomatically. Iraq, which has not explicitly
done anything for the last decade besides starve, spout off, and shoot
ineffectually at our planes in its airspace, has a quarter-million US troops
ready to invade.
3 March 2003
(AP) "In a sense, the war has already begun. U.S. warplanes enforcing no
fly zones in northern and southern Iraq have become much more aggressive in
recent days, and have begun to go beyond their traditional targets of
Now, they are now attacking surface-to-surface missile batteries they say are
in range of U.S. troops in Kuwait or of positions U.S. troops could take up in
Turkey - although the stated purpose of the no fly zones is to protect Shiite
Muslims in the south and Kurds in the north.
An Iraqi military spokesman told the official Iraqi News Agency on Monday that
a U.S. airstrike Sunday night killed six civilians and wounded 15 in southern
Basra province. There was no way to verify the claim.
American warplanes attacked four more military communications facilities and
one air defense facility on Monday, the U.S. Central Command said."
A UN report says added sugars should be less than 10% of your calories.
Food industry protests. "The Grocery Manufacturers of America, the world's
largest association of food, beverage and consumer product companies, also
objected to the targeting of sugar. It maintained that all foods can be part
of a healthy diet when eaten in moderation and combined with the right amount
of physical activity." That second sentence reads like a line straight out of
A poll in The Australian says the percentage of Australians supporting
war even without UN action has risen from 18 to 22%. Two comments: since the
margin of error on such polls is usually 3 or 4% it's not clear to me if this
"rise" is significant; and that's still not a lot of support.
Reuters: another Israeli incursion into Gaza killed 8 Palestinians,
reportedly including a pregnant woman (falling debris when they blew up a
house) and a 13-year old boy.
Ha'aretz: Shinui takes over Interior Ministry in Israel. Minister
Avraham Poraz wants to move to allow civil marriage, at least for those not
allowed to marry under Jewish law, and is skeptical of his ministry's power to
shut down newspapers, calling it 'anachronistic'. Also opposes a previous
decision to strip Arab Israeli's accused of terror of their citizenship.
2 March 2003
Jeff Donn of the AP reports 9 former FBI agents say informants are often
allowed to get away with violent crimes, including murder. It's not official
FBI policy -- that bans violent crimes by informants -- but field agents will
look the other way, or ask not to be told, to protect their sources. And
offer FBI information to local police in exchange for not pursuing an
Iraq has begun destroying missiles under UN inspection; the US dismisses
this as part of a game of deception. Damned if they're don't, damned if they
do? '"The president has always predicted that Iraq would destroy its
al-Samoud missiles as part of their game of deception," White House
spokeswoman Mercy Viana said.' I wonder if they can provide a cite for that
prediction, or is this like his mythical quote about "hitting the trifecta"?
Turkey's parliament refuses to allow US troops to attack Iraq from
Turkey, even with a $16 billion bribe. Also note that Schroeder of Germany
actually made the war (or opposition to it) part of his campaign platform,
thereby getting re-elected. He has much more of a popular mandate for his
position than Bush and Blair do for theirs -- Blair wouldn't dare call a
referendum on war.
Reuters says that in Gaza today Israel killed two more Palestinians,
possibly wounding 25 others, and demolished 10 homes and an 8 story building.
This is confirmed by Ha'aretz, which says 72 Palestinians were killed in the
last month, including 3 children under age 10, and 25 who did not belong to
The alleged mastermind of 9/11 is captured in Pakistan, raising a
question: so with all this attention on Iraq, whatever happend to Osama bin
(AP) Iraqi official says Iraq could stop destroying missiles if war seems
inevitable. Duh. It's like North Korea: they get called part of an axis of
evil, they see us going after Iraq and making noises about Iran, they start
waving their nuclear capability around. "We're already armed! Don't mess
1 Mar 2003
Thomas Lubanga, head of the Union of Congolese Patriots, says other
rebels killed hundreds of people and raped 47 girls. Hard to verify the
claim, as the UN says the area is too dangerous to investigate. "We know that
there has been fighting."
Arabs are skeptical of Bush's claims to democratize Iraq. They don't
associate us with rebuilding Germany and Iraq, they associate us with support
for the fundamentalist monarchy of Saudi Arabia and with support of Israel's
military occupation in Palestine, where millions of Palestinians have lived
under "the only democracy in the Middle East" for 36 years without voting.
Well, they did get to vote for the Palestinian Authority, but they're still
not a shining example of our support for self-determination.
28 Feb 2003
Russian Foreign Minister Ivanov says Russia is ready to veto a US-UK
resolution on Iraq if needed to preserve international stability. It's not
just the French opposing us, "freedom fries" people.
Rumsfeld says it's impossible to estimate the costs of a war. Pentagon
insiders reportedly say $60-$100 billion and that's just for the war, never
mind rebuilding. Note that the record deficits we're already looking at do
not include any money for a war. The army chief of staff says it would take
hundreds and thousands of troops to keep the peace after a war; Rumsfeld
dismisses that too. (AP)
The House of Representatives votes to ban all human cloning, even for
therapeutic research purposes, with fines as high as $1 million. Because
embryos are human beings, you know. And we're worried about religious
Hundreds of American special ops troops may be in combat positions in the
Phillipines, fighting rebels there. (AP) This may not be such a bad thing
there, but it'd be nice to know where we're fighting, yes?
27 Feb 2003
Zell Miller supports Bush's tax cut plans. "President Bush is not only
our commander in chief, he is our chief of common sense who knows that the
best and fairest way to grow an economy is to simply not take that hard-earned
money from the taxpayer in the first place." And how many people struggling
to get by will be helped by a tax cut on dividends? Republicans lawmakers
express doubts. Bush says this is necessary to stimulate the economy. Of
course, when the economy was booming, we needed tax cuts to give money back to
people, although if they're stimulating they would have overstimulated the
economy then. Economy up -- tax cuts. Economy down -- tax cuts.
26 Feb 2003
Tom Ridge says "be prepared, don't panic". I'd like to see someone
estimate the medical costs of extended stress across the whole population.